As you celebrate National Hamburger Day (May 28th) this Memorial Day Weekend, retirement is probably the last thing on your mind. But as the sizzling aroma of those grilling burgers captivates your nostrils, consider for a moment how your retirement is like a mouth-watering juicy hamburger.
“A hamburger represents all you’ve achieved and accumulated from a plain old burger to a fully loaded masterpiece of joy that you can tuck into for the rest of your days,” says Jennifer Compton, CEO at J&L Communications in Brooklyn, New York. “The plain burger will get you through, but if you don’t plan for all the extras, you’re not going to enjoy retirement and your loved ones won’t benefit from your thoughtful preparation.”
Some people look at retirement in the simplest of terms. Those are the people that can get by on just their Social Security payments. Many, however, see retirement as a complex arrangement of dreams, hopes and to-do lists. For them, imagine retirement as one of those supersized hamburgers with layers and layers of everything heaped on it.
“Consider that a hamburger is the end result of carefully chosen investments and savings stacked upon one another,” says Amit Gupta, CEO of Aeroseal in Miamisburg, Ohio. “And when it is complete if it’s been well-prepared, the end result will sustain you for some time.”
Of course, if you want to look at things from a more practical sense, the best burgers are dripping with tasty juices. You remember when you eat one of those, don’t you? Similarly, you’d like to feel your retirement will be filled with equally memorable experiences.
“Retirement is like a hamburger: messy, but rewarding,” says Angela Christian, Mental Fitness Coach at Positive Intelligence in Saint Pete Beach, Florida.
If you break it down by components, you begin to see how hamburgers make a great metaphor for retirement.
“The bottom bun represents security, a strong foundation that will allow you to enjoy your golden years,” says Wilson Dávalos-Nieves, CEO of Collaboratory in Isabela, Puerto Rico. “The burger patty is the years of hard work that you put in to get to where you are. The items below the patty and above the bun (i.e., mayonnaise, onion slice, tomato, lettuce) represent all of your friends and family who have helped you achieve what you’ve done so far. The top bun represents hope for what’s still to come in your life. You’re excited about what lies ahead for you after retirement!”
Come to think of it, rather than a metaphor, maybe a hamburger serves better as a Rorschach Test for retirement. After all, all those condiments can mean many things to different people.
“The different layers are your various insurances or preparation of your retirement plan,” says Corey Morgan, Marketing Director/Videographer at Kind Home Solutions in Denver. “Or it may also represent how well you organize your life accordingly to achieve the satisfaction that you can reap after you retire.”
Yet another way of looking at the connection between hamburgers and retirement is to consider what you do when you’re serving yourself a hamburger. First, you cook it on the grill. Then you put it on a bun. But what do you do before you place the top of the bun on it? And how is that like retirement?
“Retirement is a time to start anew,” says Scott Winstead, Founder of My Elearning World in Houston. “Just as a hamburger can be a blank canvas for whatever you want to put on it, so too can retirement be a time to pursue new interests and hobbies. The important thing is that you enjoy your retirement.”
You might have a different take and see hamburgers as consisting of a standard component (the bread and the burger) with your choice of a veritable array of condiments you can add to it.
“As long as the basic necessity of financial stability is met (buns and patty) retirees can customize how they want their life to go with any ingredients that work for them, whether they’re sweet or spicy,” says Oliver Zak, CEO and Co-Founder of Mad Rabbit in Los Angeles.
So far, the top and the bottom parts of the bun have been considered separate layers. But what if they are one singular component? What would that mean in terms of retirement?
“The meat can be the core of retirement, like travel, or playing golf often,” says Roberta Perry, Founder of Scrubz Body Scrub, Inc. in Farmingdale, New York. “The buns are the grandchildren or other loved ones’ hugs.”
You can better see the commonality between the hamburger and retirement if you map the components of a hamburger to the various elements within your retirement plan.
“Retirement is represented by a hamburger, but in a different way,” says Nicole Pomije, Owner of The Cookie Cups in Chanhassen, Minnesota. “You have your layers of retirement like your savings, investment accounts, future plans and, potentially, people you retire with. Taking the steps needed to get to retirement is like peeling off your tomato and onion.”
Just as the hamburger has a certain structure, so, too, does retirement.
“Although a hamburger offers some variety, certain things need to be in place and stacked on top of each other in a certain way or the whole thing falls apart,” says Melanie Hartmann, owner of Creo Home Buyers in Perry Hall, Maryland. “Retirement must be calculated to be executed and navigated successfully, just as a hamburger.”
Sometimes that sloppy aspect of the hamburger means it’s quite delicious. Getting a stew of condiments spilled on your fingers is well worth it. Yet, if you could hold a burger so everything remains contained within the bun, you’ll be more satisfied.
“There’s a balancing act involved with stacking the bun, the patty, the toppings, sauces, etc.”, says Shawn Plummer, CEO of The Annuity Expert in Atlanta. “We often think of retirement as looking very similar in so many cases, but that’s only because so many of the unique ingredients are hidden beneath the bun. Most people’s retirements are more different than they are similar.”
When you’re a business owner, you look at retirement—and hamburgers—from a different point of view.
Alec Pow, CEO at The Pricer in San Francisco, says, “Well, retirement for me will be more like a hamburger. As a retirement plan, I will prepare an exit from most of my businesses and take a bulk of the money, which is more like a hamburger. Hopefully, I’ll get enough to consider it a double cheeseburger with extra mayo!”
The hamburger is the quintessential American meal. It’s associated with the open road. Chances are if you stop at a little diner on the proverbial Route 66, what are you going to order?
“Retirement is a hamburger since it’s one serving and represents your freedom as an individual,” says Esther Strauss, Co-Founder at Step by Step Business in Austin, Texas.
Punching out of the office one final time means realizing the culmination of your working life. It’s a time when you can finally take that big bite out of life you’ve only dreamed about.
“Now, you can sit and enjoy a nice ‘hamburger’ (hopefully) filled with the fruits of your labor—cheese, mustard, ketchup, lettuce, pickles and whatever else you enjoy, representing financial security, peace of mind, traveling, hobbies and all things synonymous with retirement,” says Ray Leon, CEO of Pet Insurance Review in Denver.
Before you get too comfortable with the hamburger as a retirement metaphor, don’t forget to think outside the bun.
“Retirement is a large ice cream sundae with whipped cream, caramel sauce, nuts, cherries and anything else you want to add on top,” says Bret Bonnet, President/CEO at Quality Logo Products in Chicago. “Retirement is dessert. It’s your chance to indulge and enjoy something sweet.”
You can set aside that metaphor for the third Sunday in July. It’s on that day we have celebrates this frozen dessert ever since 1984 when President Reagan declared it to be National Ice Cream Day.